Pete Carroll Show: Seahawks defense’s strong rebound, Russell Wilson’s big day

Oct 4, 2021, 11:52 AM
Seahawks Russell Wilson, Freddie Swain...
Seahawks WR Freddie Swain celebrates his catch in the end-zone with teammate Russell Wilson. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Seahawks avoided a three-game losing streak Sunday with a big 28-21 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 4 NFC West action.

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After dropping the previous two games in disappointing fashion, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was thrilled with his team’s performance in the divisional road showdown, especially because it was a rough start to the game for the Seahawks, particularly on offense.

“It was really rewarding in how hard it was to get that game in order, and then we really commanded it,” he told Mike Salk on Monday’s Pete Carroll Show, which airs on 710 ESPN Seattle the day after each Seahawks game. ” … When all (heck) broke loose early in the first quarter on both sides of the ball, our guys just kept hanging.  They kept believing we could turn this thing and there was a span in there when we scored four out of five times on offense and we stopped them eight straight drives (on defense) and we took the game over.”

Carroll broke down what he saw on both sides of the ball and provided some injury updates during his visit with Salk. Here’s a bit of what Carroll had to say.

Wilson leads offense after slow start

The offense started cold with four three-and-outs to start the game, but star quarterback Russell Wilson shined to lead the team to victory.

“I thought Russ played a great football game,” Carroll said. “This was a Bart Starr-type of game with 140 (passing) yards or whatever it was, he ran for a touchdown, he mixed the ball all over the place and called a great game. I really thought it was one of his better games and it was because of all of the things he contributed and helped us.”

The lack of success offensively to start, Carroll said, wasn’t Wilson’s fault.

“The early start, he really couldn’t do much about it,” Carroll said. “… The three sacks in three drives just sucked and then he just came out. He came out of it and the fellas up front, we didn’t give up a sack the rest of the day.”

Wilson’s biggest play was a remarkable touchdown pass where Wilson dodged a would-be sack on a blitz, ranged to his right and fired a strike to Freddie Swain in the end zone.

“That was a beautiful play,” Carroll said. “A shocking play because he was in such trouble and just all of a sudden it’s a touchdown. All of a sudden we’re on the board. That was really cool.”

That was Wilson’s second touchdown pass of the day. His first was a quick strike to DK Metcalf, who used a great release off the line to get open and make the catch before diving forward for the score.

“That release is one he did in practice a couple weeks ago. That was exactly the same way he did it in practice and had the same kind of result,” Carroll said. “It’s just an impossible release to stay with in the short area and Russ was right on it and all that. He is becoming a really loaded-up player now. His releases are good, his power shows, his speed shows … He’s doing a lot of great stuff.”

Defense with a strong rebound

After getting torched for 30 or more points each of the previous two weeks, the Seahawks’ defense came through Sunday in a big way to help Seattle come away with a win.

“We’ve brought up some things that we’ve had and we emphasized more,” Carroll said of what changed from Week 3 to Week 4. “Just subtle adjustments, but things really came to light and worked out well for us. ”

One big adjustment, though, was utilizing backup safety Ryan Neal. Neal played 34% of the Seahawks’ defensive snaps and was a big-time difference maker, tallying five tackles and breaking up a pass.

Carroll said the credit for playing Neal more goes to defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

“He came to me and said he wanted to go with Ryan knowing he would wind up a lot with (49ers tight end) George Kittle so we’d have a different matchup than a linebacker on him,” Carroll said. “It just worked out. I was excited about it when he brought it up and I’m glad it made a big difference.”

After Neal’s great performance, you can expect to see more of him going forward.

“Ryan had a fantastic football game and he complemented the rest of the guys,” Carroll said. ” … We’re going to stay with him and keep him active and part of it because he was really a good football player (in Sunday’s game).”

Carroll also praised Seattle’s starting safety tandem of Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs for playing aggressively, which helped the Seahawks limit the 49ers to just two third-down conversions on 14 attempts.

“The safeties were on fire and were making plays all over the place. It was a really active day for us,” Carroll said. “…  To see Diggs make his plays and see Jamal make a couple great hits and get in front of some routes (was huge). And of course the third safety in that is Ryan, and Ryan had I think three or four wins on third down. That’s a little bit of a statement for us.”

The Seahawks’ shakeup in the secondary wasn’t limited just to playing Neal more.

After starting the first three games, Tre Flowers was benched for Sidney Jones. Jones played on the left side while D.J. Reed moved to the right side where Flowers had been playing.

“We just needed to see other guys and see what we could get done with it,” Carroll said of the move.

Carroll thought Reed looked more active back on the right side after moving to the left side during training camp because of Flowers’ performance.

Jones, who the Seahawks acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a sixth-round pick before the season started, got mostly positive reviews from Carroll in his first action with Seattle.

“Sidney had a challenging day. He had the big tight end catch where he was all over the guy and the guy makes a play and he had a couple plays that got away from him,” Carroll said. “But all in all he did a nice job. He played the scheme well with the exception of the one big touchdown.”

Listen to The Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player below.

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